Debates over Atiku’s presidential ambition thicken as PDP zones party chairmanship to North


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The aspiration of the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar to run for the 2023 presidential election may have crashed with the zoning arrangement of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on National Chairmanship.

PDP had agreed to zone its National Chairmanship to the Northern part of the country.

The National Working Committee (NEC) of the PDP last week Thursday approved the zoning of the party’s next National Chairman to the North.

PDP’s NEC considered and adopted the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led Zoning Committee’s report, ahead of the party’s national convention, scheduled for October 30.

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, disclosed this while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the NEC held in Abuja.

Insinuations in certain quarters are of the opinion that with the zoning of its National Chairmanship to the North, PDP’s 2023 presidential candidate should emerge from the Southern part of the country.

Commenting on the issue, a political activist, said the arrangement should be a booster to the South’s push for presidency.

The activist who wished to be anonymous, however, noted that things may change with the current clamour by the North to hold on to power in 2023.

He told Tribunepoint Weekly : “It’s only logical and fair that PDP’s presidential candidate should come from the South, since they zoned the National Chairmanship to the North.

“At a time like this when Nigeria’s unity is threatened with some zones alleging marginalization, a Southern presidential candidate of PDP would go a long way in quelling some of these agitations.

“This not withstanding, the party may still give its ticket to the North; anything can happen in politics.

“The Southern part of Nigeria may eventually produce PDP’s presidential ticket with the North producing the party’s National Chairmanship.”

However, Anthony Ehilebo, PDP’s Director of New Media, noted that PDP’s zoning of its National Chairmanship to the North does not imply that a Southerner would emerge as the party’s presidential candidate.

Speaking with Tribunepoint Weekly, Ehilebo, however, affirmed that Atiku is a viable candidate.

He pointed out that anything can still happen with regards to who emerges as PDP’s presidential candidate.

“Atiku, who was the PDP’s flag bearer in the 2015 presidential election and had lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, is widely believed to be nursing the ambition of running for the highest political office in the country in 2023.

“Prior to the party’s latest NEC meeting, Atiku’s campaign posters were sighted in some states, though he is yet to officially declare his intention to run for the presidency in 2023.

“No, you know politics is a dynamic game and it’s all dependent on the factors that come to bear at that particular time, like the mood of the nation and the sentiments of the leaders.

“So, we can’t say the zoning to the North can change the political equation. There was a time when we had President Yar’Adua and Amodu Ali as National Chairman. Amodu Ali was from the North central while the president was from the Northwest, and it was not a big deal.

“I think it’s just a conjecture about the president and Chairmanship. Nothing stops the chairman from resigning if he has the interest of the party at heart.

“You see, all these things are still conjectures, we are not certain about the eventual outcome yet. You can’t ignore the Southern leaders, they have the majority in the party and they seem to have a game plan and they keep their cards close to their chest.

“The politics in PDP is too dynamic. As we speak, I don’t know who would become the party’s next chairman. Politics is so dynamic that within 10 minutes, a decision of a life time can be taken.

“Don’t get me wrong, Atiku is a viable candidate but he may just be a victim of circumstance that is beyond his control and the control of everybody.”

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